Quick, cheap, compact, Nissan Sentra se-r? or..

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I'm on a budget of about $8 grand and I'm probably going to go with a smaller 4 door. However, I want something semi-decent looking and it needs to be decently fast. I'm really liking the 03' Nissan Sentra Se-R Spec V as it seems to have gotten pretty good reviews and looks to be about the fastest I can afford. I know there's plenty of faster cars to be had for 8 grand, but keep in mind I want a 4 door, something not horrible to insure, and something decent on gas.

There's a couple other cars on my list however, and I wondered how you guys think they'd compare to the Sentra Se-R.

Mitsu Lancer Ralliart
Mazdaspeed Protege

I don't know a ton about the Ralliart, except that it's in pretty much the same class as the sentra and mazda. I love how the Mazdaspeed Protege looks and I know it's no slouch in speed either, however I somewhat doubt I can find a decent one for under 8 grand. Everywhere I look they seem to be going for closer to 9 or 10, which I just can't do right now being in college.

I'd also love to have a Neon SRT-4, but even the 03's seem to be selling for $11k and over, and I know the SRT-4's are expensive as hell to insure. Same goes for the Subaru Impreza WRX, a little too expensive.

What do you guys think? Are there any other cars you'd recommend that I'm missing?

posted by  invain

Mazdaspeed protege will run you more than 8k, at least without sky high miles, and the se-r is not known for its reliability. I think its a nice lookin car but the interior is on the cheap side.

posted by  newyorker

Interesting, I hadn't heard too many problems with the Sentra. And yeah, I figured I wouldn't be able to find a mazdaspeed protege in my budget.

posted by  invain

I havent heard many problem with the Sentra either, I actually recommend this car to anyone in your position.

posted by  JPolito830

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